FAVE 5 with Macy Gray
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 print issue of Quench Magazine.
There was no chance that a little thing like a pandemic was going to slow down Macy Gray.
The acclaimed soul/r ‘n’ b singer used her time at home in California for fun, small self-improvement projects, as well as briefly opening a toilet paper company and pursuing a few TV show ideas. Eventually, of course, she went back to doing what she does best: making the kind of funky, uplifting music that sets hearts a-soaring. With the assistance of her backing band, The California Jet Club, she recorded and released the song Thinking of You in April, with an accompanying one shot video.
“We were working on this in lockdown, but towards the end of it,” says Gray, still perhaps best known for her hugely popular 1999 debut, On How Life Is, as well as the massive single I Try. “The goal was to keep it simple like the song. We shot it about 10 times, I think, and I picked the best one. That is the music video that is out there today.”
The band are still working on the full album, titled The Reset, but there’s no release date nailed down. In preparation for her 11th full-length and accompanying 2022 tour we asked Gray about her favourite five venues to both perform at and listen to music in the world:
THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
“The Hollywood Bowl is probably the A1 place to play in L.A. It is beautiful, huge, and the sound is always perfect. You get a laid-back crowd that loves your music and might sing along, but mostly they just want to be amazed, eat, drink wine, and have a good time. “
ANY OUTDOOR FESTIVAL
“I just love playing festivals; they’re like different realities. They bring people from all walks of life that love music enough to get up early, stand in ridiculous lines, and spend an entire day on a field where it’s either hot or raining. As a performer, when you are onstage in front of all those people who are excited and committed to the music, it always makes for an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.”
ST. ANDREW’S HALL
“It’s not that big, but Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit is a unique place. It used to be a church and has these amazing high ceilings and acoustics where some singers do not even need a mic to be heard. There’s an organ in the basement that I used on a song called Oblivion a long time ago too. This place is quite special.”
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
“Of course the Opera House in Sydney is one of the most legendary venues in the world. Just looking at it is amazing. The interior is perfect and gorgeous. When you are inside, you get this feeling that you do not want to touch anything be-cause it all seems so precious. It feels like a museum where the halls themselves are art.”
“Finally, any venue in Canada is iconic. I just love Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, because I have a lot of amazing memories from playing many different venues there. I remember one time during a show of mine, this kid snuck backstage and sang me a song and he had this wild voice. It was something like I have never heard before. I do not remember his name, but I always wonder if he has a career in music today and is now super famous and I just do not know it.”
Click the link to watch videos of Macy Gray performing